Permission to Wail

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Four La Llorona scholars on what the weeping woman teaches us about monstrosity, grief, caregiving, and joy.

Interview by Kimi Eisele

La Llorona, the mythical mujer who looks for her drowned children along rivers throughout the Americas, has been a central figure in oral narratives, music, literature, film, and scholarship. For those who know her, she’s not just a myth, but a beacon, a teacher, a mirror. We gathered four Latina scholars—Norma Cantú, Domino Perez, Orquidia Morales, and Camille Acosta—who study and write about Llorona’s legend, legacy, and modern relevance. Their edited conversation is below. For more context, read Searching for La Llorona.

Kimi Eisele: I feel so honored to be in the presence of such illustrious scholars, folkloristas, feministas, lloronaistas to talk about one of our favorite entities, spirits, stories, ghosts, mujeres. What brings you to this scholarship, this inquiry, this relationship with La Llorona?

Norma Cantú: I live in San Antonio, Texas. I work at Trinity University. My inquiry, research, passion, started a long time ago as a child. My maternal grandmother lived with us, so she was the one who told me the story first. About twenty years ago, I started doing research on La Llorona as a figure in our community, and I did interviews for about two or three years. I just was doing it because I was curious, not thinking that it was going to be anything. Subliminally, I identify with her. I remember hearing Dorinda Moreno at a conference in the late ’70s recite her poem and shout out, “Ay mis hijos!” I was just thrilled that she had come into an academic space, a conference.

Domino Perez: I’m at the University of Texas at Austin. I didn’t necessarily find La Llorona. I think La Llorona found me. When La Llorona chooses you—and she’s very picky—she never leaves you alone. Just when I think I’m ready to shift to a new project, somebody will come to me and, and say, “Oh, we’re doing this project on La Llorona and we’d love to have you contribute something.” I feel like I’m in this relationship with her, but I don’t get to define the terms of the relationship.

Orquidea Morales: I’m an assistant professor at the University of Arizona. I was born in Reynosa, northern Mexico, but I grew up in south Texas. I’ve been a fan of La Llorona since I was a little girl. I wasn’t scared of her. I loved her. When I was doing my master’s, I read Domino’s book and my professor was like, “Why don’t you just write about horror movies and La Llorona?” That just completely changed my academic life and my personal life. I am now a horror scholar because of La Llorona. I feel like I owe her a lot, but she is heavy.

Camille Acosta: I was originally born and raised in El Paso, Texas. Right now, I’m in Bowling Green at Western Kentucky University. I love the way you all said that she kind of just finds you when you need her most. It is terrifying and it’s heavy and it’s complicated, but there’s something about her that is so alluring. As a kid, I was like, this person is so amazing and badass, and she doesn’t care about anything, and she’s beautiful. Also, I was like, “Wow, there I am. I’m represented. It’s scary and weird, but that’s awesome. I’m glad that I finally feel like I have a place in these narratives.”

Kimi: Let’s talk a bit about this notion of monster or ghost. Haunting and horror. It’s often the first concept people have of La Llorona and it’s also a big, beautiful part.

Orquídea: I like the physicality of a monster. The ghost seems so intangible. I want to feel her. I want to have something solid. That’s why I use the word monster. The way she’s used in popular media in the U.S. is to show Latinos as monstrous. I go back to [Gloria] Anzaldúa, inviting us to be the monstrous and be Lloronas. So how do we do both? How do we point out these representations that can lead to real violence against us, while also embodying the monstrousness that is beautiful and strong in La Llorona?

Domino: I think her non-normativity is what makes her monstrous. She embodies a queerness in her refusal to accept certain social gender norms. She’s crying out against patriarchy. She’s crying out against poverty. She’s crying out against all the kinds of systemic injustices. When I think of monster, I don’t think of something terrifying. I think of something non-normative, something that’s pushing against boundaries and breaking normativity.

I also like that idea of her having a kind of corporeality. When she’s pounding at my door, that seems pretty tangible to me. To me, she’s just an entity. She just exists. She just is. What makes her so powerful is to think about her as an actual being. That’s where the transformative potential is: We can change the world, we can stand up, we can fight back.

I like the physicality of a monster. The ghost seems so intangible. I want to feel her. I want to have something solid. That’s why I use the word monster.

Camille: I love this idea of the tactile nature of her. She is real. She is constant, no matter what. I also love that there’s this duality of her. She does haunt, though, right? Like a spirit or like a ghost. Whether that’s positive or negative in your mind, she is constantly there. Either way, she’s reclaiming her space, reclaiming that monstrosity as something powerful. I think society deemed her as otherized and ostracized and reclaiming that is so powerful. A Latina woman crying is seen as monstrous. Like, “Oh, you’re emotional. You’re too much.” So, you’re “otherized,” you’re not enough. I do find myself calling her a monster most of the time. I think that is a beautiful word. It’s complicated in the wrong context as well, but I think it’s a powerful term.

Norma: It was told to me as a ghost story. It was a woman, the ghost, coming after you. But then it transforms. Somewhere along the line, she was no longer a ghost or a monster. She was just a figure. And maybe it had to do with my own kind of coming to terms with the monsters in me. You know, the shadow beast, the acknowledging that we are complex beings, and we have all kinds of different entities within our own psyche.

Kimi: In her origin story, there’s disenfranchisement and pain. There is also loss. Grief can feel so ugly and diminishing. So, the flip side of the strong, empowering monster is that deeply wounded woman, pained with grief. I can feel both things in my body as I listen to you all. Both are right there side by side, rubbing.

Orquídea: For me, grief also contains anger. Anger at the injustice, anger at “This happened.” It’s one of those emotions that we are gendered to not feel. So, we can express grief. We can cry and we can ugly-cry. We don’t have to be feminine. There is so much power and pain in that because we know we’re hiding other feelings—we’re hiding anger, we’re hiding desperation.

Some months ago, I had a meeting with my chair to say I’m on medical leave. I need to not be around. I didn’t tell him why. I started bawling. I felt so much shame because of that, because I was a Latina crying in a professional space where I’m already being demeaned. I felt disgusting. These are qualities that are oppressive, but I think also if we embrace them, they can, they can be powerful. Like what happens when we lean into these moments of disgust or these moments of ugliness? I’m trying to think through my own life, but also through La Llorona. She is ugly for what she did. She’s ugly for multiple reasons. Yet there’s beauty in that because there’s truth in that. That’s why she weighs a lot.

Domino: First of all, I’m so sorry to hear you went through that. It hurts my heart. What you said about the ugliness of crying—it has to do a lot with that institutional space. Whiteness dictates how we’re supposed to behave in those spaces. I think it serves the systemic violence that is done to women of color in higher education for us to keep that in, for it to make us sick, for it to break our bodies. I’m speaking from firsthand experience. I know what it costs to keep that in. I don’t keep it in anymore. I don’t care who it makes uncomfortable. That’s a hard, lesson I wished I’d learned many years ago. I would have saved myself a lot of pain and suffering.

Going back to that idea of La Llorona wailing. The quote from Anzaldúa: “Sometimes wailing is an Indigenous woman’s only form of protest.” I think about that wailing and that crying as a form of protest in that space. What your body was telling you to do was to protest and all you could think about was the ugliness. The neoliberal space says we have to perform in a certain way. Who is the we? We were never a part of that. We need to look to La Llorona to think about ways we can be more disruptive in ways that are true to ourselves, that protect us, that protect the most vulnerable.

Norma: I’m sorry to hear that we’re still in spaces like that, still reproducing things that happened to me 40, 50 years ago. I’ve been teaching in university settings for 50 years. I’ve survived or managed somehow to subvert that expectation. But the crying, there have been so many instances. The first time I cried in the dean’s office, that was the one that I felt shame. Later, I didn’t. As I grew and understood what Domino is saying, to honor what your body is doing and telling you, it really shifted.

But grief, it resides in you, in your heart, in your stomach. The grief that La Llorona is feeling, the grief of loss, the grief of what she did—maybe there is remorse, maybe not. There’s grief in that too. How she sublimates that grief into action. The grief that she embodies and the way she deals with that grief is a model. Okay, so I am feeling this grief and this sorrow. What am I going to do with it?

When my mother died, she was 92. I knew it was going to happen. I knew she wanted it to happen. She whispered in my ear, “Ya me quiero morir.” Given all of that, I was still in pain, in grief, sufriendo. Sandra Cisneros told me, “Just do something beautiful with all that sorrow.” And it just changed everything. Oh, I don’t have to stay there? I can use this for something, for healing. I started writing about the whole experience, and it really changed the grief. It didn’t go away, the sorrow is still there, but it was manageable. I could live with it, and I knew it wasn’t forever.

La Llorona creates an opening for grief across time and space, from the reality of the ghost to our physical reality. There’s a bridge that the grief brings with it. Going back to that origin story, what would have happened if she had not killed the kids? If she had reunited with a husband, as many women do, except that the guy has another—la casa grande—and ella es la casa chica, the woman who’s still ostracized, but survives and is still taken care of by the man, all of that? It wouldn’t be the same story.

We need to look to La Llorona to think about ways we can be more disruptive in ways that are true to ourselves, that protect us, that protect the most vulnerable.

Camille: Orquídea, you’re so brave. I want you to know that, too. I think that’s something that we don’t hear enough. Your existence is bravery, your existence in these academic settings, in these spaces that are predominantly difficult and white and male. A lot of people don’t realize that generational trauma is folklore also. It’s something that’s unintentionally passed down to you for generations and you didn’t necessarily ask for it, but, but it’s passed down to you. It’s transmitted to you. La Llorona taught me that it’s okay to grieve and to be sad and to feel things and to feel monstrous. Because you’re reclaiming that power.

When I was writing my thesis during the pandemic, I was so alone, like all of us. At the time I was battling with pure OCD, and I didn’t know what that was at all. I just thought I was going crazy. But the core of it is this fear of losing control. Writing about her when I did, I realized that it was okay. It was okay to feel out of control sometimes and to feel like nothing’s perfect and nothing’s planned out, and things may not be okay.

We as Latina women, we are walking duality. We are walking grief. We are walking heaviness and generational trauma and the fear constantly of not wanting to lose control and to keep it all together and be perfect. And that’s just not freaking possible, and it shouldn’t be. We should be able to wail and scream and cry. La Llorona actually gives us a way to talk about it.

Orquidea: I think one of the things we’re grieving—or I feel like I’m grieving—is peace. I don’t feel like we’re allowed peace in this world, for whatever reason.

Domino: I’m here because of Norma. The many things that Norma has done for me. The likelihood that there would be another Latina in the high plains of Nebraska—that doesn’t happen, but it did happen. She was physical proof. This is why to me there is a corporeality to La Llorona because she was physical proof that what I was trying to do was possible. That was transformative for me.

I think about what Camille was saying, and what Orquidea was talking about. These are things that often Latinas don’t talk about. We don’t talk about mental health. We don’t talk about issues with our body. These are the things that we absolutely need to talk about.

Norma: She gives us permission. I think that’s the key. Permission to wail, to acknowledge pain.

Kimi: It struck me, Orquídea, as you were speaking about that moment of release and tears, who knows what that unleashes inside another, even the department chair. The things that everybody else is holding together because they think they have to, and this permissiveness that one person’s tears can give. It’s so beautiful.

Domino: I don’t think we have to wait for people to give us permission. I think we need to give ourselves permission. There are so many forces at work on us and we internalize that, and we don’t prioritize ourselves. I’m not talking about long, luxurious baths. I’m talking about real self-care, because I guarantee you that a fizzy bath for 30 minutes is not going to repair what’s wrong with me. I need an army of mujeres who are out there wailing and screaming and talking about these things. Norma showed me that I had permission. I just didn’t know what to do with it. Now I do. If I can intervene in some way for younger women so that that kind of permission gets internalized and claimed much earlier so it can be transformative, that feels important to me.

Orquidea: I really appreciate it. I feel it. I need to hear that. So, thank you. I wanted to pick up on this word “crazy” that you used, Domino. We feel like we are crazy. Everyone else is happy in these spaces. Everyone else seems to be thriving in these spaces. Why can’t we? For me, that’s part of the grief. I’m grieving the life I thought I was going to have in this space. I thought I could do these things. I want to do these things, but I can’t because of this institutional violence. And yet, other people do have the privilege to do it. So how do I cry about that? How do I weep about that? I don’t know how to do that in a respectable way, because that’s what I’m expected to do in a respectable way. So, I’m doing it in a disgusting way now. And that feels okay, and also shameful.

Domino: But I think the frame needs to change there. You’re still thinking about it from the outside looking in, as opposed to the inside looking out. We don’t have the privileges that some of our colleagues have. I have colleagues who do no service, and nobody bats an eye. I know so many people who have been mentored by Norma. I think about that labor, and fifty years later, she’s still giving herself and her time. But that costs something, right? The ugliness is outside of us, it’s not in us. We need to reframe that, and we need to claim these spaces and our right to be expressive in these spaces, whether it’s wailing, crying, screaming, or saying no.

Kimi: I feel like we’ve tapped a deep, rich vein. It makes me think about the moving figure. La Llorona keeps going, she keeps walking. To switch gears a bit, can we talk about La Llorona in popular culture? It feels huge but I’ll just toss it in and see what you do with it.

Norma: It occurs to me that it isn’t any one particular expression to name, but more a question: What is the need that is being fulfilled by her? Aside from the commercial part, I’m curious to find what in our culture in the 21st century is still seeking something that La Llorona provides.

Domino: I have two distinct moments. One is Diego Luna’s installation of La Llorona at Disney World. That’s a real breakthrough moment. It was a huge draw. It was incredibly popular. The stylization and the different iterations of La Llorona that existed in that kind of haunted space that he visioned and created drew people to the park.

And then there have been so many La Llorona films made in the U. S. over the years, really bad ones, just terrible, films. But there was something about that film [The Curse of La Llorona (Michael Chaves, 2019)]—the most bland version of La Llorona—that broke through, but I also think that there’s a reason for that. It’s one of the most traditional imaginings of her. It’s the one that most people know, it’s legible. Norma’s question though is why? I think a lot of it has to do with the family separations that were happening or were ratcheting up. Suddenly that became a lens, a method of of seeing and understanding and grieving what was happening along the border.

Domino: Meanwhile, the one about Central America. [La Llorona (Jayro Bustamante, 2019)] Holy smokes. Beautiful.

Orquídea: She doesn’t drown her children in most of the Mexican films. It’s not until the US films that we see her drowning them. Even though it’s such a big part of the narrative, of the legend itself, it is filmically not part of it. In Mexico they tried to connect it to the Indigenous history. There was some sort of sacrifice, there was a knife, there was La Malinche, to turn the Indigenous into the monstrous. And in the US, we go into the legend of, “Oh, she drowned her children.” I think that’s why we end up with this more 2019 bland film—it is just a very one-on-one intro to the legend.

Going back to Norma’s question of why this uptick of representations—I do think the industry is finally realizing how much money Latinos spend on horror. We are the biggest consumer of horror films in the U.S. So, they are finally tapping into that. They just don’t know how to do it. On the flip side, I think Latino horror fans are excited to see that. Kimi, when you were describing La Llorona constantly walking, I was thinking of Michael Myers [from the horror movie, Halloween]. Like, you can’t keep her down, you can’t knock her down. As a horror fan, that’s the kind of monster I want. So, I’m excited to see her as a canonical horror monster in that way. That’s why I want to see more of her in horror films.

Camille: My dad is the one who instilled all the horror and the love for escapism through storytelling. My dad’s from Paraguay. I saw the Jayro Bustamante film, I was like, Oh my god, this is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. I can’t wait to show my dad. He’s going to be so pumped. And then when I got home, he’s like, “No, let’s watch the 2019 one.” So, I put it on for him and he got emotional. He was like, “They’re talking about us.” And I got emotional because in my head, I was like, oh, the acting is bad and the writing’s bad. You can’t stop thinking about these things because you just want the best for La Llorona in every instance. But he was so excited. He also bought the merch. He bought me the DVD of the 2019 movie as my thesis gift. I was so moved, because this is all for him and my mom. It’s this weird fine line that you walk of like, yes, representation, that’s amazing, but at the same time, you still want that correct representation, all versions, the ugly stories too, and that’s why I thought Jayro’s was so beautiful.

Imagine if she realized she was mentally having difficulties, talked to her abuela about it, and was like, “Hey, I’m real sad. Let’s have a talk about this. I don’t know if I was ready to be a mother.” Imagine that story—I think it would have haunted us all a little bit differently.

Domino: Camille, that’s a great point. I think we’re beyond representation now. We need nuance. We need some sort of variety. I’m ready to push the boundaries a little bit. The place that we absolutely are excluded from is joy. I’m interested in having that conversation about Latinx, Latine, Chicane joy. Popularly, people are much more interested in our suffering and our pain and our vulnerability and our anger. Our joy, not so much. I want to be able to claim that as much as anything else.

Camille: It is wild to think that a story starring Latinx individuals is always in sadness, always in darkness, there’s always something difficult. Like if somebody ends happy, it’s blasphemous, it’s not possible. That goes back to Norma, what you were saying at the beginning. Imagine if she didn’t drown her children? Imagine if she realized she was mentally having difficulties, talked to her abuela about it, and was like, “Hey, I’m real sad. Let’s have a talk about this. I don’t know if I was ready to be a mother.” Imagine that story—I think it would have haunted us all a little bit differently.

Kimi: Are there examples, maybe less popularly, where she’s rendered, presented with subtlety and nuance that feels right to you?

Domino: The only place for me is in in Cordelia Candelaria’s poetic triptych. We see her as a girl. We see her in midlife. We see her later in life. And the tenderness with which she renders her. When she’s washing, “tired feet by the river,” that gentleness, and the fact that she demonstrates the girl before she becomes La Llorona. She wasn’t always La Llorona. Something happened to her. The narrative she creates over that triptych is so beautiful. It’s so nuanced.

Orquídea: I like Las Lloronas from 2004. It’s a Mexican movie. It’s the only feature length one that’s directed by a woman that I found. I like it because all the women in it are problematic in one way or another—they’re all flawed. There’s a lot of nuance and real pain and they deal with domestic violence. So, it feels like you’re watching a novela with La Llorona in it, and I appreciate that.

The other popular culture text that feels joyful in some ways is the song “La Llorona.” That song to me isn’t as painful as some of the other narratives because there’s some joy in that. It reminds me of home. There’s this deep sense of nostalgia with that song that hits the grief but also brings me some sort of relief, so that’s one of my favorite texts of all. Chavela Vargas’s is my favorite, but I like the Coco version too.

Norma: The song is really deep—there’s religion in it. “Venia del templo, un día Llorona …” What templo? And what she’s wearing, the huipil? Totally Indigenous. There’s so many references in the song that are a rich affirmation of Indigeneity and of power. It’s one of my favorite songs.

What is the need that is being fulfilled by her? … What in our culture in the 21st century is still seeking something that La Llorona provides.

Kimi: Thinking again of Norma’s reframe of my last question—Why is the world ready for popular cultural representations of La Llorona?—I’m also wondering about how La Llorona is intersecting right now in with the world that we’re in. How and why and where is she showing up in the world today?  

Domino: Child separation. 

Norma: That’s the first thing that came to my mind, too. Mothers losing children, not by their own volition, but the system. And also, women that have postpartum depression and have harmed their children. I think those are contemporary issues—almost like life imitating art.

Where is she appearing these days? My reference is always Laredo and the river there, but people don’t go fishing in the river anymore. They don’t go swimming in the river anymore. ICE and US Border Patrol have razed all the fauna and flora from that area around along the river, so the river is no longer even a source for la Llorona.

When I taught in Laredo, my house was right by the river, and people would say, “No tienes miedo?” I’d say, “¿Porqué” They’d say, “La Llorona! So and so saw her there when they were fishing.” So it’s changed. Culturally, environmentally, politically, it’s just a different reality. I suspect she’s adapting to the new reality. Always has.

Domino: There has been an uptick of La Llorona sightings around the detention centers. And that doesn’t surprise me.

Norma: Not at all.

Domino: But like Orquídea said, they still get called bad mothers when the system takes them away. They’re bad mothers for bringing their children, to try to take them out of a horrible situation. My concern is that it’s easier to make a space for the representation of a Latina as a bad mother because it doesn’t challenge the status quo in any way.

Orquídea: Which is what we saw in the movie, The Curse of La Llorona. Latinas are bad mothers, and only white moms can save you. And it was just like, again? Again, we’re doing this?

Kimi: What does La Llorona offer then within that or against that? How does she alchemize that representation? If we’re talking about family separation and she’s invoked, how does she dismantle that horror or destroy it or wail it into pieces?

Domino: To my mind, the La Llorona sightings around these detention centers are wailing against that narrative. They’re not bad mothers because they tried to take their children out of violence. They’re bad mothers because of systemic violence that’s happening and national violence that’s happening at the border.

Orquídea: I would definitely agree with that. The Latinas are not the Lloronas. The use of these genres of humor and horror have culturally worked for us in the past as a way to bring La Llorona in to push back against those violences. But for me personally, the present and future of La Llorona is to think about motherhood. What happens when you are not a mother as a Latina? That is such a huge part of our identity as women. We’ve been socialized to think that we won’t be fully women until we have children. Are we not allowed to be Lloronas? There are these questions in younger generations. What do we do without maternity? What does maternity mean in another way? Can it be about caregiving or other family members? So, thinking about motherhood and maternity in multiple ways is the way I see her in the future.

Domino: I love that question about reproductive futurity and what that means, being a Latina. What happens when you foreclose that reproductive futurity? It seems to further entrench you in the monstrous. I would love to see some work and some thinking around that because it doesn’t necessarily have to be something negative. Again, it’s who controls the narrative.

Camille: I’m really excited to see the children’s perspective of the narrative in the future. We’ve all talked about remembering back to when we first heard the story. There is some wonderful field work and ethnographic research with children. Something I focused on over the past couple of years is interviewing kids about when they first heard the La Llorona story. My God, they’re so freaking smart. They had these visions and these thoughts and these concepts I could have never had as a middle school kid. I’ve always just been so curious about what happened to Maria’s two children? I remember this boy, he was 12, said, “I have a theory. I think she’s not allowed to go inside of homes because she’ll be reminded of the family she was never allowed to have.” I was like, Holy crap, I never would have thought about that now, let alone then. But these kids, their level of empathy is so amazing. I’m excited for the future of storytelling to be able to teach these kids safe spaces and to teach them about mental health and emotionality.

Norma: I really like that. The future. The story is not going to be contained in our barrios. It already isn’t. Her figure as either giving us permission to be who we are as women or as the story of being a mother and what that means and the regrets that come with that and the joys that come with that. You were saying earlier, Domino, you’re ready for joy. Absolutely. We need the joy.

I hope we have a representation of La Llorona that is positive. I don’t know if you’ve read my poem, “La Llorona considers the state of tortillas.” I wanted to make it human and funny, not that horror-infused tale. It’s like, yeah, she’s gonna comment about how tortillas are not what they used to be. So, I hope there’s more of that. Reconfiguring the figure.

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Raised in El Paso, Texas, Camille Maria Acosta is a folklorist/Chicana performance activist and the Kentucky folklife specialist for the Kentucky Folklife Program in Bowling Green. Her research focuses on the beauty of Latinx horror and how monsters are mirrors guiding us toward our own brilliance and truth. After graduating with a master’s degree in Folk Studies from Western Kentucky University in 2021, she pursued folklore work with the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress and New Mexico Arts Folk Arts Program. In 2023, Acosta launched Floaties for Krakens, a podcast about reclaiming the monsters in your head.

Award winning poet and author, Dr. Norma Elia Cantú was born in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas to a Tejana mother and a Mexicano father. She currently serves as the Norine R. and T. Frank Murchison Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Trinity University in San Antonio, where she teaches courses in Latinx Studies, Folklore, and Creative Writing. Her creative writing focuses on the US-Mexico Border and includes the novels Canícula and Cabañuelas, as well as a poetry collection, Meditación fronteriza. Her most recent publication is the anthology Chicana Portraits: Critical Biographies of Twelve Chicana Writers. She is the co-editor, with Kathleen Alcalá, of the forthcoming anthology, Weeping Women: La Llorona in Modern Latina and Chicana Lore (October 2024, Trinity University Press).

Dr. Orquidea Morales is an assistant professor in the School of Theatre, Film, and Television at the University of Arizona. Her work on border violence, Latinx media, and horror has been published in journals such as Film Quarterly and Flow. Her work looks at the intersection of Latinx Studies and Horror Studies, and she is currently working on a manuscript that traces the movement of La Llorona in Mexican and U.S. film. Morales also hosts the podcast Monstras with Brenda Salguero on Latinx and Latin American folklore, legends, true crime, and all things spooky.

Domino Renee Perez is a professor in the Department of English and the Center for Mexican American Studies, specializing in young adult fiction, Mexican American and Latinx literature, 20th and 21st century American literature, film, popular culture, and cultural Studies. Her book There Was a Woman: La Llorona From Folklore to Popular Culture (UT Press, 2008) examines La Llorona, the weeping woman, one of the most famous figures in US/Mexican folklore. She co-edited Race and Cultural Practice in Popular Culture (Rutgers UP, 2018), and has published book chapters and articles on film and Indigeneity in Mexican American studies, young adult fiction, and folklore. Her most recent book is Fatherhood in Borderlands (UT Press, 2022).

1 thought on “Permission to Wail”

  1. Wonderful article! It’s so great to have and to be aware of a living myth within our midst. These scholars deserve a lot of credit and praise for what they’re doing in exploring and redefining and contemporizing these ancient yet modern stories from both our lands and our hearts.

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